Unexpected and Unwanted Pregnancy: The Psychological Effects of a Pregnancy One is Not Ready For

By: Rebecca Fernandez

Unexpected and unwanted pregnancies can end in one of three ways. The first: The pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and keeps the child, putting her previous life on hold to raise a child into a life that is not ready for them. The second: the pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and gives the child up for adoption after birth – at which point she may have grown extremely attached to them. Finally, the third: the pregnant woman undergoes an abortion.

While none of the above options are desirable, it is important to note that none of them are any more emotionally destructive than the others. Thus, contrary to many pro-life arguments, abortion isn’t a particular source of trauma. Rather, abortion is a solution to the broader traumatic issue of unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.

The impossible choice can leave a woman feeling helpless and alone. All of the options can be painful and traumatic. Whether the specific thoughts and feelings revolve around the woman losing her previous life and anticipated future to take care of a child, losing a child that she grew attached to throughout her pregnancy, or undergoing an abortion and losing the opportunity to raise a child because she isn’t ready, the lasting effects – grief and otherwise – can remain for a very long time. The different regrets – what-ifs, guilt, sorrow, grief, self-hatred, self-doubt, etc. – stemming from any of these choices all have the potential to linger for the rest of the woman’s life.

For anyone presented with this impossible crossroads, the most important thing to remember is that whatever decision you make is valid. There is no magic solution, and the best one of the three options varies with each individual woman’s situation. All of the options can lead to pain and trauma. To move forward with life after this point, it is important to work through your feelings by talking to friends or loved ones. Speaking with a therapist can be extremely beneficial as well. You are not alone – help is out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health after an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/